NYC Is Suing New York State to Enact Its Foie Gras Ban

If you thought that New York City’s fight over the legality of foie gras was over, think again.

The city is suing the state to enact a ban on the sale of the luxe ingredient throughout NYC’s five boroughs, the New York Post reported recently. It contends that the delicacy, made from the fattened livers of ducks and geese, necessarily entails animal cruelty during its production.

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“The legislative record reflects a decision by the city that it values animal welfare over a luxury food item that requires force-feeding of birds,” the city Law Department argued in a Manhattan Supreme Court filing.

This battle goes all the way back to October 2019, if you can even remember what that pre-Covid world was like. That month, the New York City Council passed Local Law 202, which prohibited the sale of foie gras in the city. That law was set to go into effect in November 2022, but two upstate farms that sell foie gras sued to stop the ban, claiming it would negatively impact their businesses and force them to lay off hundreds of workers.

Those two farms were successful, with a judge and the state Department of Agriculture and Markets siding with them, effectively stopping the ban from becoming law as planned. The city isn’t giving up though, and so now it has filed a new suit in an attempt to finally stop the sale of foie gras.

“If local law 202 were it to go into effect, [it] would only prevent [the farms] from lawfully selling foie gras to businesses in the city, but would not prevent the sale of any other product they produce in the city and would not prevent the sale of foie gras outside the city,” the legal filing says.

While that may be true, the farms get a lot of their business from selling foie gras in New York City, and they will continue to fight for their right to do so. Sergio Saravia of La Belle Farm, one of those involved in the lawsuit, told the Post that he was confident he and his allies would prevail.

“I feel good about it because the Agriculture Department actually came to our farm, they actually came and saw our operation,” he said. He added that La Belle had asked City Council members to visit as well, to see how the farm carries out its foie gras production, but they ignored that request.

At least until this latest lawsuit winds its way through the legal system, the foie gras wars shall continue.

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